Crime

Colin and Andrea Chisholm, Wealthy Welfare Fraudsters, Being Extradited to Minnesota

Colin and Andrea Chisholm certainly did not look like Scottish royalty at the Broward County Courthouse this morning. The wealthy Minnesota couple who insist on being referred to as "Lord and Lady" were dressed in the same blue prison tunics as the plebs who surrounded them.

As they approached the courtroom, a reporter asked: "Hey, Colin, if you're so wealthy, why did you need all that public money?" It's the question that's catapulted the Chisholms to infamy. Why, exactly, did a telecom exec and his pedigree-dog-breeding wife decide to defraud the welfare system of $167,000 in benefits? How could they collect food stamps while living on a $1.2 million yacht and in a Lighthouse Point mansion? Who could possibly be so entitled?

On Monday evening, the Chisholms were deported from the Bahamas and arrested in Port Everglades. They appeared in court this morning to volunteer for extradition back to the state they've allegedly defrauded. Starting today, Minnesota has 30 days to pick them up from Broward.

Colin Chisholm, owner of a multimillion-dollar business that provides internet service to Latin America and the Caribbean, looked ill at the hearing. At one point, the judge had to ask if he needed medical attention, because he appeared to be nodding off. His wife, Andrea, barely opened her eyes throughout the proceedings.

Although Lord and Lady have been charged with only one count of unlawfully obtaining public assistance, they've probably already heard that prosecutors there are seeking much more than the usual probation. Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman has publicly stated that he's seeking jail time for the couple.



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Allie Conti was a fellow at Miami New Times and a staff writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach, where her writing won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists. She's now the senior staff writer at Vice and a contributor to the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the Atlantic.